The Biden Foundation, a nonprofit human rights group for which Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill are honorary co-chairs, launched a new campaign this week to improve the lives of LGBTQ youth.
Called “As You Are,” the campaign, launched Tuesday, will combine storytelling with the best research available to protect LGBTQ youth from the mental health consequences of rejection.
The initiative will incorporate research from the Family Acceptance Project (FAP). As ThinkProgress previously reported, family acceptance is the most significant factor when it comes to improving the mental health of LGBTQ youth, including their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. As FAP Director Caitlin Ryan said in a statement, “Family acceptance is like a vaccine that protects their LGBTQ child with love and helps them deal more effectively with challenges, adversity and stigma.”
“As You Are” will partner with organizations like The Trevor Project, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the True Colors Foundation to work to protect LGBTQ youth from bullying and rejection, conversion therapy, and homelessness.
Storytelling will be an important component of the initiative, and the organization is currently inviting people to share their personal stories about how family and community acceptance has impacted their lives. These will then be shared widely to help educate and inspire others to make a difference for LGBTQ youth.
As Vice President Joe Biden explains in the launch video, “By sharing your stories — your stories — we can work together to change the culture and ensure a bright future for the LGBTQ young people in America.”
Biden has long been an outspoken supporter of LGBTQ equality. His comments in 2012 supporting marriage equality spurred President Obama to follow suit, ushering in a new wave of support across the country.
A Public Religion Research Institute poll recently found that majorities of all age groups now support marriage equality, including 81 percent of people under the age of 30.
By contrast, the current administration has rolled back protections for LGBTQ youth since Trump took office in January 2017, stating officially that it won’t consider complaints from transgender students who experience discrimination in schools. It has likewise rolled back implementation of policies ensuring LGBTQ people have equal access to homeless shelters at the same time LGBTQ youth are facing high rates of harassment in those very facilities.